Removal of paper driving licence pushed back until June

The Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed the abolition of the paper driving licence will be delayed until 8 June this year.

Commercialmotor.com reported last year that plans to do away with the paper part of the driving licence from January had been put on hold, after opposition from trade associations concerned it would actually increase the burden on hauliers.

Trade bodies, including the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and vehicle hire body the BVRLA, raised operational concerns about the original proposal. This would have forced anyone seeking to check a driver’s counterpart information to rely on that driver printing it out from an online database, before verifying it themselves by entering a unique code on the printout into a website, along with the driver’s licence number, within 48 hours.
 
FTA head of policy for driver licensing Ian Gallagher told Commercialmotor.com at the time that the proposed system would have created a great deal of unnecessary work for firms seeking to check the licences of hundreds or thousands of drivers three or more times a year, as many do.

Gerry Keaney, chief executive at BVLRA, said: “We welcome this delay and are happy that the DVLA and the Department for Transport have listened to the needs of some of their biggest customers.

“The DVLA finally has a clear plan of action for developing its online alternative to the paper counterpart, and we look forward to working with them in delivering a robust, cost-effective solution for the vehicle rental sector.”

Keaney added that calls by industry for a a real-time, online driver-details checking service to be introduced ahead of abolition appeared to have been heeded by the government.